Review: ‘The Bean Team Anthology’

As described in a lengthy but absorbing opening monologue by Steve Bean, young drama student Steve Levy (his earlier self) did not waste his time during his two-year stay at Pittsburgh's prestigious Carnegie Mellon University back in the late '70s. Before the school politely asked young Levy to take an extended leave from the campus (he never returned), he and his two roommates, Michael and Crocker, spent their time mastering the art of "Rien!" (Nothing!), or at its most elevated state: "Tres Rien!" (Totally Nothing!). Buoyed by an ample supply of various chemical substances, the trio evolved into the Bean Team, inventing an awe-inspiring minimalist genre called Doorway Theater. Director Roger Cox displays a great empathy for this theatrical form as the second half of evening is devoted to a re-creation of this amazingly mercurial series of "sketchlets" by Bean, ably assisted by Steve Scionti and Kevin Black. Utilizing a simple doorway as a mini-proscenium and a light switch for blackouts, the trio proceeds to bombard the senses with an endless stream of absurdity, including the visage of Death as a sight gag, a fascinating laser show with lit cigarette butts, renderings of their gibberish national anthem, a rock concert with vacuum cleaners, visits with the very earthy Meat family, impromptu home movies by way of rapid digital manipulation of the light switch, and on and on.

Bean, Scionti and Black demonstrate total commitment to the absurdity of their endeavors, their energy and their inventiveness boundless. Impossible to single one out over another, their rapidly evolving personas envelop each other as they segue from scene to scene in a never-faltering rush of physical and verbal activity.

Aiding immeasurably in all this inspired silliness are light and sound operators Sybil Coffee and Bruce Blair.

The Bean Team Anthology

Eclectic Co. Theatre; 47 seats; $10 top. Opened July 18, 1997; Opened July 18, 1997; runs until Aug. 23.

Production

The Onstage Co. presents "The Bean Team Anthology," a play in one act by Steve Bean, directed by Roger Cox. Producers, Bean and Cox.

Crew

Lighting and sound, Sybil Coffee, Bruce Blair. reviewed July 26; Running time: 50 min.

With

Cast: Steve Bean, Steve Scionti, Kevin Black.
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